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Cornwall - Accommodation and sights with somewhat limited mobility

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Feb 15th, 2015, 11:11 AM
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Cornwall - Accommodation and sights with somewhat limited mobility

I have a separate thread going on visiting both Cornwall and Scotland on the same trip, but wanted to narrow down the discussion on this thread to cover only the Cornwall portion of our trip. I'll be travelling with my mom, who loves to walk, but has trouble climbing hills and steps (other than short flights). We want to see Cornwall's stunning coastline, walk on a beach or two, visit a couple of fishing villages and gardens, and basically relax and soak in the ambience. We'll be in Cornwall for 7-8 nights and plan on having a car. This visit is probably not until May 2016, so I've plenty of time to plan (one of my favorite hobbies, I might add).

Based on Annhig's excellent suggestion on my other thread that we fly into Newquay from Edinburgh, we'd pick up a car at the airport and head in the direction of St Ives. I have read that driving into St. Ives is not advisable, so where should we look for accommodation that allows easy access to St. Ives and the Penwith Peninsula? If we split our visit between two bases, would Falmouth offer good options for lodging and parking that would also accommodate Mom's mobility issues?

I'd also appreciate suggestions for villages and beaches that would give a sampling of Cornwall's beauty but are easily reached by car and flat-ish walks.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 11:34 AM
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While I love both St. Ives and Falmouth, have stayed both places, I wonder if Penzance might not work better for you as it has larger areas that are less hilly and more easily walked. There's a circular bus service that takes in the peninsula between Penzance and St. Ives that has cheap day tickets, is a fun ride and drops you in the center of St. Ives, no need to park. I also liked the town very much, is very near St. Michael's Mount, and if I return I plan to stay there, rather than St. Ives.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 11:34 AM
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ttt - will give this some thought.

meanwhile, you might like to have a look at visitcornwall.co.uk
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Feb 15th, 2015, 11:45 AM
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Thank you MmePerdu. That's a very reasonable suggestion, and it would be easy to take the train from Penzance to London upon departure (that's if we based only in Penzance for our entire stay).

We aren't hooked on any particular sights in Cornwall, but as I mentioned in my first post are really looking for a sampling of coast/beach, villages and gardens, so we wouldn't necessarily have to get further afield than what we could do from Penzance. I think I'll wait for Ann to weigh in again before going further with that train of thought...
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Feb 15th, 2015, 11:48 AM
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Annig will know more but many of the more picturesque villages and towns--Fowey, Polperro, St. Ives, for example, have excellent "Park and Ride" lots where you leave your car. For a small fee a van or small bus takes you into the center.

Unless changed, Polperro has a horse-drawn cart. Actually, the walk down to Polperro from the car park is fairly easy but the walk back may be when you want a lift. The walk down to Fowey from its car park is steeper but not long.

Park and Rides are usually well sign-posted.

I've done the coast walk from Polperro to Loo, mostly flat but several staircases. Looe has a pretty harbor but I find the town dirty and junky. From Looe you can get a local taxi to take you back to Polperro.

I'll leave accommodation suggestions to annig, stayed once in St Ives, I wouldn't recommend the hotel but loved St. Ives. Other visits have been from rental cottages near Polperro, Fowey and Megavissy, maybe farther away than you would like.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 11:55 AM
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Best beaches = Porthcurno, Whitesand Bay/Sennan Cove, Praa sands (you can watch the suffers at the latter).

I love the drive from St Just to St Ives along the northern Cornish coast, then across from St Ives to Penzance - old tin mines and standing stones galore, not to mention amazing coastal views. Btw you can do the drive without going right into St Ives thereby avoiding the stress of trying to park. Though I do advise taking the time to go to St Ives even if on public transport as its a lovely town for a wander round the galleries and cafes and has a decent beach (or 3) of its own. That said you will have to stay down near the water to avoid the hillier bits for your mum.

If you head to Falmouth that is another lovely area with beachside and creekside cafes in the main town (Gylyl beach café), plus the gardens at Trellisick, pretty Porthleven for a fishing harbour fix, and Flushing (Waterside café) for great crab bisque or mussels.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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Thanks Catinjoetown and RM67. That's great to know about the park and rides. If we could get down to the harbor area in some of those fishing villages we'd be happy. We probably wouldn't go as far east as Looe, but perhaps to Fowey and Mevagissey.

I love the sound of the drive from St Just to St Ives. I've read that the train is the best way to get into St Ives, so if we did stay in Penzance that would be a possibility. Falmouth sounds good as well. Perhaps that could be our second base, as Ann suggested in my other thread.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:15 PM
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MmePerdu - you got there before me. My suggestions of St Ives and Falmouth were made before I knew about the mobility problems, and I agree that neither would be ideal in the circumstances. I too like Penzance a lot, but there is still the problem that to get between the seafront and and the town where the best restaurants are, requires negotiating a hill.

IMO, subject to further research, Truro would make a better base for the OP and her mum, as it is very largely flat. this would make day to day shopping, eating, and general getting around a lot easier. it's about 45 mins drive from both Penzance and St Ives, and only 20 mins from Falmouth. Falmouth is hilly but the very centre [which follows the line of the harbour] is mostly flat so that would work, but it is not a good centre from which to get to the north coast, whereas Truro is much better from that respect. it also has some excellent restaurants, a theatre [the Hall for Cornwall] and a cinema, albeit that's up a bit of a hill.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:36 PM
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good places to see that are reasonably flat or have good access for people with mobility problems:

St Mawes - a big car park in the centre of town and easy walking to the Castle and back [or as far as you may want to go] lovely views over the estuary and a great hotel with a terrace - the Idle Rocks.

Falmouth - the very centre is flat, lots of good restaurants, some with views of the harbour. The Maritime museum should be accessible, and is good for a wet morning or afternoon. ditto a walk along Gilly beach, with a lovely cafe. there are also a number of nice traditional hotels in this area, but they are not walkable to the town, though there is a nice promenade and a lovely garden [with its own bandstand and theatre] at nearby Gyllyndune gardens. There is not a lot of accommodation in the very centre which would not require either a walk down [and then up] a hill or a drive in the car, with the hope of getting parked at the end of it. The best hotel, the Greenbank, suffers from this problem, though the food is terrific and the views are wonderful.

St Ives - there are a few B&Bs in the harbour area but traffic and parking are a bit of a nightmare and you don't want to have to keep driving from one car park to another. a visit by bus would be a better option or there is a train, but that deposits travellers at the top of the town - ok perhaps going down but there is also the coming back up!

Penzance - the problem here is that most of the accommodation is at one level and the town is on another so moving around usually involves a hill one way or the other. MmeP is right that there are buses and the bus station is next to a large car park, so that might be a help if you were staying over the other side of town.

How is your mum getting on/off boats? There are quite a few nice trips you can do on the water but that's no good if she can't negotiate getting on and off.

I seem to have gone back to places to stay rather than to see - sorry.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:40 PM
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Ann - It certainly does sound as though Truro would suit our needs. My only hesitation is that it's not on the coast. I had pictured a B&B or cottage with views and sounds of the ocean (I'm sorry - I guess I could have said that!). Is there anything on the coast that isn't too hilly? (I feel a little whiny asking this - but I'm grateful for your suggestion, truly!) I will look more closely at Truro - just hadn't thought of it before.

Mom can handle small hills, slowly, but it would definitely be more pleasant if we didn't encounter a hill every time we step out the door. It's been my experience in traveling with Mom that what I consider to be an easy walk into town may be a bit of a trek for her.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:40 PM
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Ann - you were answering my question even as I asked it .
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:43 PM
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"...to get between the seafront and and the town where the best restaurants are, requires negotiating a hill."

Thinking about it before I posted originally, I remember Penzance as a slope, as opposed to the others that are fairly steep up from the water, if it's a seaside location that's wanted.

Do you remember Polkark? I wanted to visit Truro because I thought Ross was so sexy (at least for the time). I found Truro, for who knows what reason, a letdown and not at all sexy. I'm sure it's my imagination that's to blame and not the town.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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In Penzance - I've seen B&B's listed that are near the promenade. Would that then involve an uphill to get into the town centre? Just trying to get a mental picture.

St Ives - I thought the train deposited you near the beaches and hoped there was no hill involved...

Falmouth - at least looks to be worth a visit. I'll check out accommodation.

St Mawes - Idle Rocks looks lovely, but a bit out of our budget!

What about self-catering? Would a cottage be a better solution to trying to park in towns?
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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ok - places to see -

St Mawes - see above.

Falmouth - ditto. there is a big car park next to the Maritime museum and that area is all flat.

Truro - the centre is flat and there is reasonable parking.

Fowey - there is some parking down in the town which is reasonably flat, or a park and ride arrangement with the main carpark.

Penzance - a lovely town but a bit hilly.

The Eden Project - biomes built into a clay pit. there is excellent disabled access with free entry for someone accompanying the disabled person. lots of wheelchairs, disabled car parking, a train down from the car park to the main area [and back up again] - etc. etc.

Lost Gardens of Heligan - mainly flat, except for the "Jungle" which you can easily miss. lovely gardens at any time of year, very accessible and a terrific restaurant.

Trengwainton - lovely gardens, a gentle slope from one area to another with disabled parking at the entrance. also Lanhydrock though parts may need a bit of a climb.

Trebah/Glendurgan - lovely gardens along the Helford River, but quite hilly. ditto Trelissick.

St Michael's Mount - in a lovely position and nice to look at from Marazion [nice restaurants and beach] BUT - the walkway to get there is not easy to negotiate and once the tide comes in, the only way out is by boat.

I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them at the moment.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:53 PM
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Ann - meant to say that Mom would probably be fine getting on/off boats with assistance. Boat trips would be a wonderful way to see the coast.

MmePerdu - I don't know about Polkark, but enjoyed hearing your perspective on Truro .

Sloping vs. steep would probably be okay, especially if we could park nearby without involving a hill. Just thinking that for quick errands into town, I could manage fine, and for daily excursions if we could park nearby without negotiating hills Mom would be fine.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Ann - you've just touched on every major sight I'd considered. Thank you so much - I'm going to print this off for reference.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 12:56 PM
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Ann - should have said that you've addressed my concerns on every major sight I'd considered. Perfect information!
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Feb 15th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Sorry, I hit the wrong key - Poldark, not Polkark.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 01:06 PM
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ok - B&Bs with sea views - probably PZ is your best bet, though there may be a couple in Falmouth, which if they suited would be better due to the flatness of the town. The main bit of PZ is up what I would call a hill, and would require you either to walk up quite a steep slope, or to drive in the car. If you could find somewhere in Falmouth that would be great as the boats make it an excellent centre for day trips. There might also be something in St Mawes but the boats only go to and from Falmouth; ditto Flushing.

Marazion may have some B&Bs with sea views, ditto Fowey [too out of the way IMO] and St ives of course, though I think that we've ruled that out.

The vast majority of B&Bs do have on site/nearby parking so as long as you picked one of those, that aspect should be ok.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 01:14 PM
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BBgt - glad to be of help. please keep the Qs coming.
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